During a summer heat wave, there’s nothing that hits the spot quite like a frozen dessert. Unfortunately, the ingredients lists of most store-bought ice creams and popsicles are less than satisfying. Luckily, crafting your own cool concoctions at home holds unlimited potential.
If you’ve got popsicle molds, it can be as easy as pouring your favorite juice or smoothie into them and popping the molds into the freezer. If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can fill paper cups 2/3 full and freeze 30-45 minutes, then insert sticks and freeze until completely solid, about 3 hours. If popsicles aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of other ice cream-esque options in this list, and most of them are vegan, refined sugar-free, and dairy-free. In recipes that mention an ice cream machine, simply place the mixture into an ice cube tray and blend the ice cream cubes together after freezing, or place the mixture in a freezer-safe container and stir it every hour.
10+ Nutritious, Delicious Summer Treats
1. Banana “nice” cream
With the simplest of ingredients and countless creative mix in ideas, it’s no wonder this blended treat has taken the internet by storm. Banana “nice” cream, so-called for it’s vegan, raw, paleo, fat-free, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and added sweetener-free existence, is a magical treat. At its most basic, it only requires blending frozen bananas in the blender until it reaches a creamy ice cream consistency.
Banana with optional pinch of salt and dash of vanilla extract
- For the best nice cream, cut up 2-3 ripe bananas and freeze them.
- Toss them into a blender or food processor with a pinch of salt and/or vanilla extract and blend until you’ve got soft serve. If the blending isn’t going smoothly, add a tablespoon or two of your milk of choice.
- Either serve immediately, or firm it up in the freezer for a half hour or so and scoop out with an ice cream scoop.
- Strawberry: frozen strawberries, vanilla extract, shake of cinnamon
- Toasted coconut pecan: toasted shredded coconut and pecans, coconut cream, cinnamon
- Tropical: frozen mango or pineapple, coconut cream
- Peanut butter: peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
- Chocolate: add cocoa powder, dash of vanilla extract, dash of sea salt
- Raspberry basil: frozen raspberries and a few fresh basil leaves
2. Raspberry lemonade popsicles
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (or sweetener of choice)
- 1 tablespoons lemon zest (zest of one lemon)
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons juiced)
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries, cleaned (large ones cut in half)
- Evenly distribute raspberries between ice pop molds.
- In a medium bowl, mash lemon zest and sugar together. Add lemon juice and yogurt. Stir until well combined.
- Pour into molds. Cover with aluminum foil and add sticks. Freeze for 4-24 hours.
3. Keto Ice Cream
- 2 cups canned coconut milk (full fat)
- 1/3 cup xylitol, erythritol, or sweetener of choice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- optional ingredients for desired flavor
- Stir together the milk, sweetener, salt, and vanilla extract.
- If you have an ice cream machine, simply churn according to manufacturer’s directions. Or to make it without an ice cream machine, freeze the mixture in ice cube trays, then blend the frozen cubes in a high-speed blender or thaw them enough to then blend in a food processor or regular blender. Eat as-is, or freeze an hour or so for a firmer texture.
- Ideally enjoy it the day you make it! Otherwise, freeze leftovers up to a month and thaw before serving.
4. Dipped bananas
- 3 bananas
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Shredded Coconut
- Almond butter or peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Peel the bananas, then slice in half and insert a popsicle stick into the cut end.
- Lay the bananas on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and freeze for at least 2 hours.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in 20 second increments in the microwave.
- Dip the frozen banana into the melted chocolate and twirl to remove any excess. Sprinkle on any toppings while the chocolate is still wet, then place on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and allow the chocolate to fully harden. Enjoy immediately.
5. Strawberry yogurt granola popsicles
- 2 cups Greek vanilla yogurt, or regular yogurt, divided
- 3/4 cup strawberries, sliced
- 1 cup strawberries, diced ¼-inch by ¼ inch
- 1/2 cup granola, your favorite kind
- In a blender, puree 3/4 cup sliced strawberries and 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt together until a smooth, consistent texture is reached, about 1 minute.
- Layer the popsicles as follows: 1 teaspoon cubed strawberries, 1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt, 1 tablespoon blended strawberry yogurt, 1 teaspoon granola. Repeat layers once more, or until the mold is filled to the top.
- Place cover on the mold and insert the popsicle sticks. Freeze for at least 6 hours.
6. Cantaloupe sorbet
- 4 1/2 cups fresh cantaloupe 1 medium cantaloupe, cubed
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp water plus more as needed
- Place cubed cantaloupe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space in between the cubes to allow for even freezing.
- Freeze the cantaloupe until completely frozen, at least 4-6 hours.
- Place the frozen cantaloupe into a food processor and pulse until the cantaloupe becomes crumbly.
- Add the lemon juice, honey, and water and pulse again. You may need to add more water until the mixture takes on a soft sorbet texture. If the mixture becomes too slushy and does not resemble sorbet, you can return to the freezer for 30 min. to an hour to allow it to re-solidify.
- Serve immediately, or store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
7. Green tea coconut ice cream
- 1 14-ounce can quality full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2-3 Tbsp matcha green tea powder
- 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates
- 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup for vegan)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
- Place coconut milk, almond milk, matcha, dates, and honey in a blender and blend until well combined. Add xanthan gum and mix again. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more green tea powder, dates, or honey.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and let chill for few hours. Then pour into a pre-chilled ice cream maker and operate according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, simply pour it into a freezer-safe container, cover, freeze, and stir/whisk every hour or so to aerate.
- Once finished churning you can either eat it as soft serve or transfer it to a freezer-safe container and let harden for 4-6 hours.
- Best if enjoyed right away, but will keep in the freezer for a week or so.
8. Superfood very berry popsicles
- 1 cup frozen strawberries, such as Sprouts brand
- 1 cup frozen blueberries, such as Sprouts brand
- 1 cup frozen raspberries, such as Sprouts brand
- 1 cup (or more) baby spinach, such as Sprouts brand
- 1–2 Tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup orange juice
- water, as needed. (I usually use between 3/4-1 cup)
- Place all ingredients in the blender and puree until completely smooth.
- Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks, and freeze until completely solid, about 3-4 hours.
9. Coffee cashew ice cream
- 1 cup brewed iced coffee
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 cups roasted lightly salted cashews
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Soak cashews in iced coffee and almond milk overnight.
- Pour soaked cashews with coffee and almond milk into high powered blender.
- Add vanilla extract and maple syrup and blend until mixture is smooth and very creamy.
- Pour mixture into ice cream maker and churn until soft frozen, or if you don’t have a maker pour it into a freezer-safe container, cover, freeze, and stir/whisk every hour or so to aerate.
- Pour ice cream into freezer safe container and freeze until firm.
- Before scooping allow ice cream to thaw on counter for about 10 minutes.
10. Vegan avocado icecream
- 1 1/2 avocados
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 can (14 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup (or your preferred liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or agave syrup)
- Place the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight to encourage the cream to separate.
- Put the avocado flesh in a food processor together with the lemon juice and blend until it’s a perfectly smooth avocado cream.
- Spoon out the coconut cream until you hit the coconut water (save the coconut water for a different recipe or for a smoothie).
- Whip the coconut cream in a bowl with a KitchenAid, or other electric mixer until it’s a nice, soft coconut whipped cream. Add in the avocado cream and the rice syrup and mix until incorporated.
- Put the ice cream in a freezer-safe dish and place it in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
- If it is too hard to spoon out after 4 hours, let it sit at room temperature for a minute or two. Enjoy!
Hungry for more vegan options? Try How to Make Delicious Non-Dairy Milk at Home.
Looking for more low-carb ideas? Try 20+ Tasty, Low-carb Versions of Your Favorite High-carb Foods.